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Yolonda Ross as Jada Washington on The Chi (2020)

The Chi's third season is coming to a close, and things are really heating up ahead of the final episode in an emotionally heavy season. The previous episode, “Lackin’,” saw two major developments occur. Ronnie Davis, who made it his mission to find the missing Kiesha Williams, had finally gained acceptance from most of the city after locating the lost girl. But during the episode’s closing moments, Ronnie was gunned down by a gang member seeking retribution for Coogie Johnson’s death. In addition, Emmett proposed to longtime girlfriend Tiff, who happily accepted. Now, Yolonda Ross, who plays Jada Washington, is weighing in on those two massive moments.

Like many of us, Yolonda Ross was shocked when she first learned that Ronnie was being killed off, as it meant she’d be saying goodbye to the character and co-star Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine. Ronnie’s death happens quickly, with him being shot from behind, while longtime friend Tracy mourns him. However, when I spoke with Yolanda Ross, she revealed that there’s an entirely different side to the sequence that audiences didn’t see. She also discussed her character’s (and her own) visceral response to the death:

Filming it, and it’s not seen, but we were all actually outside when it happened. I’m not sure why that particular take was used, but we were all outside still eating. We got shot. So she was there, the whole family was there, Emmett, Darnell. And we all kind of scattered. It looked like, in the take that they ended up using, nobody was outside, so it’s kind of a weird thing. Since she was there, I think she was in complete shock when it happened because just hearing the shot and then you want to take cover. But then it’s like, ‘Who got hit, what happened?’ And then seeing that it was Ronnie, it was one of those things where it’s like. ‘Oh my gosh.’ I just remember holding Emmett, and Darnell’s pulling us away, taking cover. And then seeing that it was [Ronnie], and so many things just hit me in that moment, like Miss Ethel just left us. His grandmother just left, he was just getting his life together, and then this happens.

It's easy to imagine that filming such a scene would be an emotional situation, for both an actor and their character. And in Ross’ case, her character already had enough on her mind with the shocking engagement of her son, Emmett. When asked if she thought the engagement would actually happen (especially after Emmett’s tryst with co-worker Dom), Ross had some very honest thoughts:

No, no, no and more no. No. No, not at this point. Speaking as Jada, it’s one of those things like, ‘Ah man, that’s not going to last.’ But my first thought is, ‘Hopefully, these kids don’t do this.’ Like Emmett said, this would be a long engagement. You know what he just did with Dom, and then the next thing you’re down on your knee to this girl? And I’m sure she doesn’t even know yet? It just seems like a bad situation.

No one knows Emmett better than his mother, and Yolonda Ross can definitely speak to her TV son’s nature. The ambitious (and mostly well-meaning) young man has grown a lot this season, but that doesn’t mean he’s changed completely.

Of course, Emmett and Tiff’s engagement and Ronnie’s death are only a few of the major storylines present as we head into the finale. There’s also the matter of Keisha’s pregnancy and an intense mayoral election. Speaking on the finale, Yolonda Ross says there’s one thing she hopes audiences take away from it:

I hope that they take from the finale, from the whole season, that life is nothing but change. There can be regrets, but you can’t have them for long because you really have to live in the moment.

Change has definitely been a major theme within the third season, and each character has dealt with it in varying ways. We’ll see how things wrap up when The Chi's season finale airs this Sunday, August 23, at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime.

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